Informal Support Groups
The most frequent request the Parent Network receives is for information about in-person support groups located in communities, both urban and rural. At this time, the Parent Network does not have any regularly scheduled in-person support groups in Idaho. But all is not lost! The Parent Network has partnered with the Idaho Federation of Families and Idaho Parents Unlimited (IPUL) to create a database of caregivers who have children with mental health concerns who would be interested in meeting face-to-face in our local communities. If you choose to add your name to our shared list, we will contact you if there is ever a chance to meet in your area.
If you choose to add your name to our database, we will ask you a few things:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- Your nearest city/town
- The distance you are willing to travel to meet other caregivers
- Any good places to meet in your area (coffee shops, community centers, etc)
Reasons to Join a Support Group
- Sometimes I just need to look into the eyes of someone who understands me and my child.
- It feels good to share my story and feel normal.
- I need new ideas and suggestions to help my child and family.
- I need to practice a little more self care.
Currently a group gets together every few months in the Boise area with a representative of the Idaho Federation of Families, and other events are possible as members of each organization travels around the state.
As an important note:
Please remember that neither the Parent Network, the Idaho Federation of Families, or Idaho Parents Unlimited (IPUL) offer mental health services, so our gatherings are not intended to provide mental health support for you or your family, but to offer the support of people who understand your experiences and who have walked the path you are walking.
If you need more formal support than the informal gatherings we may sponsor, you have a couple of options. If your child (or you) currently has a mental health provider you can ask them about formal support groups facilitated by mental health providers in your area. If your child has a mental health diagnosis and currently is eligible for Medicaid, you can ask Optum about any Family Support Partners that may be available in your area. Family Support Partners are a type of paid support provided by caregivers who have raised children within the mental health system and who can help you navigate the system while supporting you through the process. Not all communities have Family Support Partners available, but you can check the Optum website for more information in your area. (Take a peek at the provider directory and be sure to search for communities near you too.)
Important Tip: Did you know that if your child has Medicaid you can receive counseling to support you even if your child is not present? Ask your child’s mental health professional for details.